The name comes from the Greek synaulia, which in ancient Rome referred to a group of instruments consisting mainly of wind instruments.
The group was founded and at first sponsored by the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in Leiden, Netherlands in 1995 by Italian paleorganologist Walter Maioli and choreographer and anthropologist Natalie Van Ravenstein.
In the beginning the Synaulia’s main task was mainly educational: the reconstruction of ancient musical instruments for the Dutch archeological center, Archeon. Later the scope was widened to include a more profound study into Italy’s music and dance focusing primarily on ancient Rome.
The fruits of Synaulia’s intensive study were used as material for films, serials and documentaries about ancient Rome (among them Gladiator by Ridley Scott and the television series Rome), the use of the instruments for scholastic purposes, as well as in the publication of numerous articles on the subject.